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BBC's Panorama broadcasts City graduate's investigation

MA Investigative Journalism graduate Emma Slater's report into the key role criminals turned witnesses is broadcast by the BBC's long-running current affairs programme.
by Ben Sawtell

nullAn investigation into the use of criminals as star witnesses, so called 'supergrasses', broadcast by the BBC's long running Panorama show last night began life as a dissertation on City's MA Investigative Journalism course.

Emma Slater, who completed her Masters in 2009, began the investigation during her time at City after finding out that 175 supergrass deals were signed between January 2006 and April 2012. In 156 of these cases, offenders received considerably reduced sentences despite in some cases their evidence being not believed by the jury or totally discredited in court.

Alistair Jackson, who presented the show, revealed the remarkable deals these often violent gangsters are being offered, with gunmen avoiding life sentences, and one teenage gang member escaping prosecution despite helping to cover up fatal shootings.

Following the broadcast Emma Slater said: "During my time at City, I had the opportunity to work with the London Innocence Project - a pro-bono organisation looking into possible miscarriages of justice. It was there that I came across the SOCPA supergrass system.

"City gave me the skills I needed to research to write my MA project, and eventually develop it into a full investigation for BBC Panorama. I'm hugely grateful to all those at City who helped me along the way."

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.